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Chan Zuckerberg Initiative Announces $3 Billion Plan to 'Cure All Disease'

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On Wednesday, Priscilla Chan and Mark Zuckerberg, co-founders of the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, announced a plan to invest $3 billion over the next 10 years as part of an initiative to “cure all diseases” by the end of 21st century.

Chan, a pediatrician, and Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, launched the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative in 2009 to “advance human potential and promote equality.” The initiative, which had previously been focused on personalized learning, is now turning its attention to the scientific and medical community.

The pair hopes their investment will cure, prevent or manage disease within their 10-month-old daughter’s lifetime. “That doesn’t mean that no one will ever get sick,” Chan said in an announcement on Facebook Live. “It just means that our children and their children will get sick a lot less. And when they do we should be able to detect or treat it or at least manage it as an ongoing condition.”

Chan and Zuckerberg spent two years speaking to scientists, engineers and medical professionals, all of whom, the pair said, believe such goals are possible. To illustrate his point, Zuckerberg pointed out that most of society’s medical innovations – antibiotics, vaccines, chemotherapy and other medications like insulin and statins – were developed over the past 100 years.

As part of its plan to “cure all diseases,” the initiative will focus on bringing the scientific and engineering communities together, building new tools and technologies, and providing new avenues of funding for scientists. The initiative’s first investment will be a $600 million “Biohub” that will bring together scientists from Stanford University, UC San Francisco, and UC Berkeley to develop new tools to help understand and treat disease.

“This is going to be a long-term effort,” Zuckerberg said. “We’re going to invest billions of dollars over many decades, but it’s going to take years before the first tools get built and years after that until they’re first used to cure diseases. So we have to be patient. This is hard stuff, but it’s important.”

You can watch the couple’s full announcement below:

Image via Wikimedia Commons/JD Lasica

Originally published: September 21, 2016
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